For a while, the Press Herald has been saying that a sale needs to close before the end of the year to work for the Blethens. Part of this is related to the fact that the Blethens will take a capital loss on the deal, and the loss can be used to offset some of the Blethens' tax obligations from their capital gains on the sale of some property in Seattle earlier this year.
And while the financing for the Press Herald sale appears to be down to the wire, the finish line might be moving - Bill Richards over at Crosscut.com is reporting that Blethen management has told some staffers that the real-estate sale in Seattle isn't done yet either - which means the capital gains haven't been realized, and therefore don't need offsetting. If both deals take into 2009, the Blethens may be in a similar situation - but with a year to spare to finalize both arrangements.
On the other hand, Richards is also reporting that the Blethens owe at least $91 million and are being pushed by creditors to sell both the land and the Maine papers. And if the creditors aren't happy, the clock may run out entirely. It's hard to know, but if the Seattle real-estate deal isn't done yet, there may be a glimmer of holiday hope for the Blethens to eke out a deal.